If your organisation runs conferences, seminars, webinars, educational talks or any kind of event – online or off – you will be simplifying your life with an online event booking system.
Infrequent, simple, free events
If it's a one-off or you only intend to run occasional events which don’t require ticketing or firm numbers (for example, if you’re not catering, or the event is in a park rather than somewhere seated), Facebook events will probably do the trick.
If your organisation has a Facebook page you can set up an event easily. This will let you publicise your event, provide a map, encourage your networks to spread the word, get RSVPs, and update anyone who has RSVP'd. You won’t be able to take payment or provide tickets.
Paid or more sophisticated events
If you need to charge for tickets, one of the following services will be better. They will also allow you to control how many people book in to the event, set different ticket prices (including early-bird prices), control how many tickets one purchaser can buy, allocate seating if necessary, send attendees confirmation emails and printable tickets, and keep track of payments for you. They will also report statistics back to you, though this may not be particularly sophisticated.
- Eventbrite is a widely-used online event booking system. Its data integrates well with Salesforce, which is useful if you’re using that CRM, and its analytics program is useful even if you don’t have a CRM. It is free if you pass on the transaction fee to your attendees, or you can absorb the transaction fee yourself. Users report that the system is easy to use. However, Eventbrite processes its finances in the US and some Australian users have reported getting a big international transaction fee from their bank, so check with your bank first before signing up to use the service.
- Trybooking is an Australian service used by many not-for-profits. Pricing is transparent and there are no ongoing monthly fees, tiered pricing or hidden charges.
If you have a client relationship management system and you intend to run a suite of large or complex events with sophisticated ticketing requirements, it might be worth talking to your CRM provider or an independent developer about whether it’s possible to integrate events into your system.